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Abstention rate worst for nearly 50 years

25% of voters in France did not bother to head to polling booth for 2017 Presidential election

The turnout for the second round of the 2017 Presidential elections was the lowest in nearly half a century, with more than 25% of those able to vote not bothering to head for the ballot box.

Meanwhile, the number of 'blanc votes', spoiled or unmarked papers which are counted and regarded as protest votes in French elections was 12.3%, also a record high, the interior ministry has revealed.

Commentators have put the high number of abstentions and 'blanc papers' down to the fact that neither candidate came from traditional mainstream parties. Emmanuel Macron, who picked up 65.5% of the vote and will be the next President of France according to early figures, described himself during the campaign as an 'independent centrist', while Marine Le Pen's support comes from the far-right of the political spectrum.

Analysts said that many traditionally left-wing voters saw their choice as being between two candidates of the right.

The abstention rate for the second round of the 1969 Presidential election was 31.1%, when voters had a choice of two centre-right candidates.

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